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Friday
Oct222010

Quick Hitter: Chase Utley and the Playoff Fastball

Here's a quick note about Chase Utley and his fastballs put in play during the postseason.

Utley is slugging just .250 on fastballs in play this postseason, and that number dips to .222 on fastballs in the strike zone. Compare that to the previous two postseasons, when Utley slugged .941 and 1.286 on fastballs in the strike zone in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Of course, we're discussing relatively small samples, but speculation about Utley possibly playing hurt has begun to kick up. This certainly won't help that.

 Chase Utley vs. FB, 2010 Postseason

 

Friday
Oct222010

No Easy Answer to Jayson Werth

Soon-to-be free agent Jayson Werth continued to pad his resume with the all-important insurance run last night in Game Five of the NLCS with a solo home run in the ninth inning off of Giants right-handed reliever Ramon Ramirez. The right-handed Werth took Ramirez to the opposite field, clearing the 24-foot high wall at AT&T Park, putting his team ahead 4-2. Werth had already made noise earlier in the game with one of the best outfield assists of the 2010 season, and had been one of the only Phillies doing anything offensively in the playoffs to that point.

Represented by Scott Boras, it seems a foregone conclusion that Werth is playing his final games as a Philadelphia Phillie -- and for good reason: hitters of Werth's caliber are very rare.

Over the past three calendar years, Werth has the fifth-highest wOBA among all Major League outfielders. At a ridiculous .389, Werth trails only Matt Holliday, Josh Hamilton, Shin-Soo Choo, and Ryan Braun. In 2009, Werth led all Major Leaguers in average pitches seen per plate appearance (4.5) and finished third this year (4.37).

With a hitter so patient and yet so potent, how do you pitch to him? It's a good question, one that opposing pitchers have yet to answer. As the following charts show, Werth has tremendous plate coverage and great power to all fields against both left- and right-handed pitchers.

Jayson Werth's in play ISO vs. RHP

Jayson Werth's in play ISO vs. LHP

He hits hard stuff (93rd percentile in wOBA, 2010) and soft stuff (95th percentile) alike. He even hits well with two strikes (97th). If there is an easy way to handle Jayson Werth, it's not obvious. Among the 14 pitchers he has faced 20 or more times, only Tim Redding, Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vazquez, and Chris Volstad have had impressive results. Aside from mediocrity, there is nothing the four pitchers have in common.

When Werth hits free agency after the post-season, teams will be bidding for the services of what appears to be an as-yet unsolved riddle -- a very productive, multi-talented unsolved riddle.

Friday
Oct222010

Phillies Spell Relief

Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge shut the door on the Giants and gave Phillies fans reason to look forward to a Game 6. The pitch log and stats speak for themselves. Strong relief pitching.

Scope: Relief Pitching for the Phillies in the 8th and 9th Inning of Game 5 of the 2010 NLCS.

Ryan Madson
Plate Appearances: 3
Pitches: 13 
Pitch Types: fastball(5), changeup(1), slider(7) 
Strike Rate: 76.9%
Strike Outs: 3
Contact Rate: 33.3.%
Hits: 0 

  • Buster Posey strikes out swinging.
    Vs Buster Posey (R), Bottom 8, 0 out, Bases Empty, leading 3-2
    • 0-0 - Ball on a 91 MPH Changeup - Over the Plate
    • 1-0 - Ball on a 89 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
    • 2-0 - Strike Looking on a 93 MPH Fastball - Over the Plate
    • 2-1 - Strike Looking on a 93 MPH Fastball - Over the Plate
    • 2-2 - Foul on a 93 MPH Fastball - Inside
    • 2-2 - Strike Out on a 91 MPH Fastball - Inside
  • Pat Burrell strikes out swinging.
    Vs Pat Burrell (R), Bottom 8, 1 out, Bases Empty, leading 3-2
    • 0-0 - Strike Swinging on a 90 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
    • 0-1 - Foul on a 95 MPH Fastball - Over the Plate
    • 0-2 - Strike Out on a 90 MPH Slider - Outside
  • Cody Ross strikes out swinging.
    Vs Cody Ross (R), Bottom 8, 2 out, Bases Empty, leading 3-2
    • 0-0 - Ball on a 90 MPH Slider - Outside
    • 1-0 - Strike Looking on a 89 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
    • 1-1 - Strike Looking on a 89 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
    • 1-2 - Strike Out on a 90 MPH Slider - Over the Plate

Brad Lidge
Plate Appearances: 3
Pitches: 10 
Pitch Types: fastball(2), slider(8) 
Strike Rate: 50%
Strike Outs: 1
Contact Rate: 66.7%
Hits: 0 

  • Pablo Sandoval flies out to right fielder Jayson Werth.
    Vs Pablo Sandoval (L), Bottom 9, 0 out, Bases Empty, leading 4-2
    • 0-0 - Ball on a 81 MPH Slider - Low
    • 1-0 - Strike Looking on a 81 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
    • 1-1 - Fly Ball Out on a 81 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
  • Juan Uribe grounds out, shortstop Jimmy Rollins to first baseman Ryan Howard.
    Vs Juan Uribe (R), Bottom 9, 1 out, Bases Empty, leading 4-2
    • 0-0 - Strike Looking on a 80 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
    • 0-1 - Ground Ball Out on a 91 MPH Fastball - Over the Plate
  • Travis Ishikawa strikes out swinging.
    Vs Travis Ishikawa (L), Bottom 9, 2 out, Bases Empty, leading 4-2
    • 0-0 - Ball on a 90 MPH Fastball - Low
    • 1-0 - Strike Looking on a 81 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
    • 1-1 - Ball on a 82 MPH Slider - Low
    • 2-1 - Strike Looking on a 82 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
    • 2-2 - Strike Out on a 83 MPH Slider - Over the Plate

Video of Brad Lidge's save provided by MLB.com